There's a particular dialogue during the underrated (pun intended) Thomas Jane classic The Punisher where Frank Castle explains his intentions as spoken from the off (in a supposed farewell letter, I guess):

I leave this as a declaration of intent, so no one will be confused. One: "Sic vis pacem, para bellum." Latin. The boot camp sergeant made us recite it like a prayer. "Sic vis pacem, para bellum - If you want peace, prepare for war."

Which is continued later when he prepares for the final confrontation outside of Saint's headquarters:

Number Two: Frank Castle is dead, he died with his family. Number Three: In certain extreme situations law is inadequate. In order to shame its inadequacy, it is necessary to act outside of the law, to pursue natural justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No, not vengeance, punishment.

However, the whole preparation scene that features the second part of that "declartion of intent" (i.e. numbers 2 and 3) is missing everytime this movie airs on German TV (no matter at what time). This made me curious and Wikipedia suggests that there were indeed some conflicts in rating the movie:

Shortly before the planned theatrical release there were problems with the FSK: "The examination board refuses to give the movie the certificate 'no youth admitted' because of excessive violence and constitutionally questionable tendencies with an inhuman attitude". Only after a cut by about 90 seconds the movie could be released with the certificate "no youth admitted" [...] There was an uncut DVD release however (labeled as Extended Version), of ca. 118 (PAL-) minutes runtime. [...] As expected this Extended-Version of the action movie landed on the index [...] In 2006 the distributor released the cut theatrical version on DVD, which can be sold freely.

However, as I don't own a copy of any of the released versions it is unclear to me if it really was this particular dialogue that made the significant difference between FSK18 and indexed or if that in turn was cut by the TV channel (which is of course yet another layer in the whole censorship mess). While I have seen German versions of the movie (through "inofficial" channels) that had this scene neatless and properly dubbed, I don't know if that were "uncut" versions or theatrical releases.

I'd thus first and foremost ask for the definite information if that scene of Frank preparing himself and explaining his motives is already part of the supposedly cut theatrical release of the movie or if it indeed was that part that had to be cut for FSK clearance. In the former case I'd pose the (hopefully not too subjective or broad) followup question of why this particular dialogue had to be cut. While I understand that Frank Castle's ideals might not be congruent with the rule of law, there are various heavier movies in this regard or other scenes in the movie where this attitude is present. He is a fictional character in a revenge action thriller afterall and at the end of the day you can as well just call him an anti-hero, not to speak of the fact that many vigilantes in film and fiction are shown as working above the law. So is there any secured background information as to what exactly drove FSK's decision in this particular case? While I know and usually don't worry too much about the censoring activities of the FSK regarding violent or sexual depictions and dialogue, such kind of seemingly arbitrary ideological censorship baffled me a bit and I'd like to know if this is precedented or even common practice in FSK-ratings or if The Punisher was really a special case there.

1 Answer 1


Schnittberichte.com lists five (2004 version) or eight (1989 version) different German versions, all of them cut to some extend, to make a realease in Germany possible.

The reason given for the ban (actually just not giving the label of "not suitable for youth" (~fsk 18) ) of the uncut movie is given as "wegen exzessiver Gewaltdarstellung und rechtsstaatlich bedenklicher Tendenzen bei menschenverachtender Grundhaltung" by different media, which roughly translates to

Excessive depiction of violence and constitutional questionable tendencies with fundamental inhuman/misanthropic attitude

Without digging up further sources, while the main reason for banning/judging movies in America is nudity, same applies for Germany and brutality and even more so actions/tendencies/opinions against democratic order. This has been reason enough to "make unavailable" certain movies and such, but I wouldn't go as far as to call it "common":

  • 2
    Well, this doesn't really do more than recapitulate what the question already says. While I'm grateful for your efforts, from an actual answer a little bit of substance should be expected. It might be that there isn't anything more substantial to find on this, but that would just be unfortunate rather than a reason to post as answer what just amounts to a comment at best.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 29, 2014 at 18:48
  • This started as a comment indeed and was made into an answer as it grew too large. I will try to build on it.
    – npst
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:25

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